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sydney alternative media - non-profit community independent trustworthy
Friday, 2 March 2007
SAM broadband and phone line cut Thursday morning 1st March 2007?*
Mood:  energetic
Topic: independent media

The life of a political blogger is not so easy it seems. Soon after we finished a little feedback comment to the 702 abc Trioli show at 9.15 am yesterday 2nd March 07

 

(giving new information corroborating the stink of a page 1 story in the Sydney Daily Telegraph - about a “$5B TOLL SECRET” about a huge “Inner West Tollway”, namely the Marrickville Truck Tunnel we pursued with unsuccessful FoI requests back in 2005 – and posted the relevant original documents on Sydney alternative media site)

 

 

 

we suddenly lost our dial tone and adsl broadband connection to the office about 9.45 am.

 

We ducked down to a local internet business to check our website was still up with our server, which it was, and posted our increased readership figures.

 

Maybe it’s the weather, or paranoia. We hope it wasn’t any of these stories which attracted the attention of the authorities in an oppressive censorious way:

 

  1. sledging the visit by an alleged war criminal the Vice President of the USA, Dick Cheney especially his strange expression entering the plane at KSA (possible);
  2. sledging the shadowy, privately funded Australia America Leadership Dialogue which Cheney addressed last Friday 26th Feb 07 here in Sydney, with heavy defence hitters in their ranks from both sides, (possible);
  3. sledging Maxine McKew a supporter of the AALD and aspirant of John Howard’s seat (not very likely);
  4. sledging dancing bear Greg Sheridan, journalist for Murdoch press, over his interview with sinister Cheney around invasion of Iran (possible);
  5. broadcast email to Federal Parliament of our SAM piece on rednecks motive to start a bushfire at Goonoo Pilliga area of North West NSW this summer, to neutralise malicious smears by Minister Eric Abetz of the ALP and Green Party in the Senate last Wednesday 28th February (unlikely); or
  6. Legally privileged correspondence from a bunch of agitators at the NSW Supreme Court recently seeking advice about trial by jury (unlikely).

 

In the paranoid stakes we recall Peter Wright’s book Spycatcher where he desribes the orthodox methods of faulting a phone line in order to insert eavesdropping equipment via the ‘repairman’. Only we are happy to have our information and hard drive transparent to the whole world, just not have our communications equipment sabotaged by persons unknown, or indeed act of God.

 

Curiously Telstra’s helpful staff after calling back to our mobile told us they ‘are locked out of checking our line” on their remote system, and would have to send a tech in the next few days. The second staffer specialising in faults curiously mentioned she ‘was briefed about the problems you are having with your family’. No actually, that wasn’t my case, nothing about sick family members or anything like that. I told her I was a political blogger. “Oh, okay” sounding a little confused herself.

 

We only hope to be back doing our democratic duty soon, and posting stories about Sydney politics as below as the NSW election approaches, and federal election after that. Heaven forbid we would be censored by Big Brother with its excessive security budget. As the High Court noted in the famous Albert Langer case, Mr Langer is entitled to be “an agitator”, and so it is with sydneyalternativemedia.com/blog, in a democracy anyway:

Picture: Playfair St corner with Argyle St to be renamed Jack Mundey Street for saving the amenity and heritage of The Rocks in Sydney. Or will it be like the traffic chaos above?

Picture: Electioneering on Glebe Point Rd last Saturday in the seat of Balmain affected by the Inner West Motorway plan.

Picture above: Cr Marcel Hoff working for re election of Clover Moore at Broadway in the seat of Sydney last Saturday.

Picture: Upper Glebe Point Rd, seat of Balmain, Liberal candidate at far left on poster, main view is apolitical community group The Glebe Society awareness raising last Saturday.

* This post was via another location.


Posted by editor at 7:54 AM EADT
Updated: Friday, 2 March 2007 8:10 AM EADT
Thursday, 1 March 2007
February 07 readership figures for SAM blog 5,372
Mood:  crushed out
Topic: independent media

This short month we have a monthly hit rate of 5,372 up from 2800 or so for the month of January 2007.

As always our original material here is copyright free for the community and media sector generally big and small, as per the copyright policy at the link on the right hand side of the page, as written by the owner and legal adviser, Tom McLoughlin.

The sydneyalternativemedia blog is independent of, but also friends with similarly named Alternative Media Group here in Sydney.


Posted by editor at 11:49 AM EADT
ALP NSW coverup of the Marrickville Truck Tunnel by any other name
Mood:  down
Topic: election nsw 2007

SAM's editor sought by formal Freedom of Information in mid 2005, a taxpayer funded Commission of Inquiry Report into the expansion of Port Botany which would categorically evidence massive increase in truck container traffic via the Inner West of Sydney. The govt were sitting on the report by respected Kevin Cleland for months, and even changed Planning Ministers from Craig Knowles to Frank Sartor while community groups like my own Botany Bay & Catchment Alliance http://www.botanybay.info/ patiently waited. The report helped evidence the Ports agenda for the same Inner West Motorway in the news today, that we knew as the Marrickville Truck Tunnel in 2005.

A tunnel that would involve subsidence, toxic ventilation stacks and massive voter concern. Marrickville Byelection was scheduled for 17th September 2005 and the ALP were at risk from The Green Party's Sam Byrne.

The government ran the clock down on our FoI request. We smelt a rat over the Truck Tunnel damage in the byelection. The Planning Dept under Frank Sartor even refused despite numerous promptings by phone to give up a letter of refusal prior to the close byelection. This writer was forced to go into The Lands office in Bridge St CBD and refuse to leave until I was given the letter on 12th Sept 07 (as noted below in handwriting). But the refusal letter they couldn't provide to me was actually already drafted "6th Sept", and signed "9th September" by Sam Haddad (note the changed date by hand by Haddad). The same Sam Haddad promoted to head up the department sometime later from Deputy Director position.

We duly complained and sought a review but the byelection was held on Sept 17th and negative replies excusing the government cover up were received soon after. (These letters are copied below from the reviewing officer, and the electoral commissioner). A few weeks after the byelection the Port Botany report was released.

The Greens Sam Byrne lost by only a few per cent, and was then chosen to be Mayor of Marrickville Council later in 2005 being the quality candidate that he was.

Now the major story running in Sydney is the same secret Truck Tunnel this time before an election vote in the Sydney Daily Telegraph on page 1. I also mentioned this on 702 ABC radio talkback and am happy to take interview calls on tel. 0410 558838:

$5b secret road under Sydney

new tunnel

Exclusive by Heath Aston: THE RTA has secretly drawn up plans for a gigantic underground toll road through Sydney's inner west in a bid to ease the city's worsening traffic woes.

10 comment(s) about this story

Here are SAM's letters of that time evidencing the Government successfully covering their tracks in 2005 ... but not today:



 

 


Posted by editor at 9:29 AM EADT
Updated: Thursday, 1 March 2007 11:49 AM EADT
Wednesday, 28 February 2007
Real politik of vanity in the age of global warming
Mood:  accident prone
Topic: election Oz 2007

We wrote to Catholic Cardinal Pell recently in an open letter widely circulated accusing the senior cleric of vain posturing, and alot worse, in his climate change denial, and pro nuke reactor, positions in the Sunday Telegraph newspaper in the last month. Like a tonne of bricks 4 Corners on Monday night just past

http://www.abc.net.au/4corners/content/2007/s1854517.htm 

, and every third news bulletin carries more grave news of the reality of the Warm, that it's big and it's real.

Pell in his next column in the Sunday Telegraph returned to safer ground with a solliliquy on the religous season of Lent. It was all about restraining one's vanity including that author.

And just so, PM Howard attacks rival Rudd for being "full of it" especially after a feature in The Australian colour mag some weeks ago quoting Rudd he would 'have fun playing with Howard's mind' like a condescending intellectual alien visitor to Earth. Rudd quickly retreated from that ugly perception in the Oakes interview on Sunday 9 25th Feb 07 show humbly stating he is a long way behind Howard 'at the base camp of Everest' or such like metaphor. That was necessary but was it sufficient? What he should probably have said is:

Yes it was a smart alec comment and I apologise to the PM for that. It was an insecure thing to say because Howard's record and budget war chest is just so intimidating. So it actually reflected my own nerves. But now I am refocused on the enormity of the challenge for our side and concentrating on winning with integrity to quote Gandhi and not simply to win.

Glenn Milne, a Treasurer Costello booster vying with the ALP leader to be PM, pushed the vanity line against Rudd too in his column in the Sunday Telegraph last week showing it's a real risk for Rudd and his pompous ALP, and indeed all of us in the political community.

The real politik of vanity. It's a dangerous befuddling emotion, and pride before a fall usually.

Now today high profile Catholic and Minister Tony Abbott writes in the conservative friendly Fairfax of guess what: Vanity with this quote:

"Has NSW now come to resemble Italy [SAM's editor is 1/8 Italian too], where an incompetent and venal government is accepted as an unalterable fact of life?"

with the quote extracted on the front page for good measure, full story at: Tony Abbott: A Government so bad should be thrown out

But here is the thing: Tony Abbott's own federal government has a huge dollop of vanity informing it's support for risky long term nuke energy technofixes one day, synonymous with expanded fossil fool economic (read material) growth in the short and medium term against all ecological reality:

Businessmen deny nuclear proposal - Sydney Morning Herald - 21 hours ago
Turnbull says Labor waging nuclear scare campaign - ABC Online - 1 hour ago

Not just the Howard Coalition government, most western governments suffer such vanity that it's market based business as usual with their mates on top in society, unlike say far more ecologically sustainable, far more radical countries like Cuba according to a World Wildlife Fund Report of 2006: WF - Living Planet Report, and much earlier EIJ Winter 94: The Greening of Cuba,

That's human vanity and why in all anthropological history no civilisation has transcended that exhaustion of its ecological bubble to inevitable demise.

Odds are that vanity will bring on dangerous climate change, with or without nuke energy, for failure to really know our place in the scheme of the universe endlessly pursuing personal affluence. We are fast approaching the pointy end of vanity vis a vis global warming, nuke waste, and technological religous faith, and we all would do well to consider these images of urban inundation via YouTube and Hurricane Katrina there in New Orleans a year ago:

- Slow but very scary one (who the hell builds carparks on the ocean front?, notice petrol leak at 4.22 sec) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_yd5WreHxPg&mode=related&search=
- tragedy semi rap soundtrack http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fJlHBT1r3EU
- positive social work  - 8 months later http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c5rY4t8oEtU&mode=related&search=
Imagine all those petrol stations and other contamination under sea water in urban areas. What a mess it would be after global warming ice melt in low level urban areas, even if slow rise.
SAM feels pretty sure the polar ice will melt, our guess 10 years: No western or non western material economy is slowing down really with consequent greenhouse emissions, and there are bound to be synergistic feedback effects too.

Posted by editor at 11:44 AM EADT
Updated: Wednesday, 28 February 2007 4:45 PM EADT
UN launches 2 years of study on polar ice caps, Greenpeace seeks listing of polar bears
Mood:  blue
Topic: globalWarming

Dear xxxxxxxx,

 As temperatures around the world continue to rise, the chances of survival for the polar bear are literally melting away. Experts predict that polar bears may disappear, along with the ice, by mid-century if nothing is done to solve global warming.

To save the polar bear, we have to act now. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is considering listing the polar bear as a threatened species, and they need to hear from YOU. Don't let the polar bear slip away.

The End of Oil

You can join Kert Davies for a
live online discussion this Thursday, March 1st, about the impacts of global warming and the consequences of a dwindling oil supply. The groundbreaking Link TV production, The End of Oil, airs at 11 pm to 1 am EST on March 1st and 2nd. Oil and energy experts will answer questions and debate the issues raised by the film.

SAM editor: More here http://www.worldlinktv.org/programming/programDescription.php4?code=end_oil1

.................... 

Global warming at North, South Poles comes under microscope in UN-backed research

26 February 2007 The largest polar research programme in 50 years, with a major focus on global warming, gets under way this week with United Nations support as thousands of scientists from over 60 countries prepare to carry out 220 science and outreach projects in both the north and south polar regions.

The International Polar Year (IPY) 2007-2008, a programme of the International Council for Science (ICSU) and the UN World Meteorological Organization (WMO) officially beginning on 1 March, will be the fourth such event. The previous IPYs of 1882-83, 1932-33, and 1957-58, also known as the International Geophysical Year, all produced major increases in understanding the Earth system.

“IPY comes at a crossroads for the planet’s future; February’s first phase of the Fourth Assessment Report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has shown that these regions are highly vulnerable to rising temperatures,” WMO Secretary-General Michel Jarraud said.

“However, meteorological and other regular environmental in-situ observation facilities at the poles are few and it is essential to install more and increase satellite coverage to gain a better overall picture of how rapidly these areas are changing, and of the global impact of these changes,” he added.

The IPY projects will focus on learning about the past, present and future environmental status of the polar regions, while advancing understanding about the interactions between those regions and the rest of the globe. They will also investigate the frontiers of science in the polar regions, and use the unique vantage point of the polar regions and develop observatories from the interior of the Earth to the Sun and the cosmos beyond. In addition, the projects will investigate the cultural, historical and social processes that shape the sustainability of circumpolar human societies.

In order to ensure full and equal coverage of both the Arctic and the Antarctic, IPY will span two full annual cycles, from March 2007 to March 2009. Many national and regional IPY launch events are being organized over the next few weeks. The official international launch ceremony will take place on 1 March at the Palais de la Découverte in Paris.

“We face many challenges as we start: funding, data sharing, and, most importantly, the surprising and rapidly changing nature of the polar regions,” IPY International Programme Office Director David Carlson said.

But we have an enormous strength: international enthusiasm and cooperation, at a higher level and across a wider range of science than most of us will see at any other time in our careers. IPY will succeed because of this scientific urgency and energy.”

at http://www.un.org/apps/news/story.asp?NewsID=21682&Cr=climate&Cr1=change


Posted by editor at 11:18 AM EADT
Dancing bear Greg Sheridan's strange parallel universe as a Murdoch 'Blimp'
Mood:  incredulous
Topic: peace

 Mr Sheridan (pictured, but older and fatter now) is known as one of the "dancing bears" of the media as labelled by ex ALP leader Mark Latham, an evocative reference to tubby hairy types in the sector. Here is the official version About Greg Sheridan | Greg Sheridan biography | The Australian

He is a figure that encourages the SAM writer to swim laps.

Greg slums it in the Sydney Sunday Telegraph on 25th Feb 07, p7 of Opinion section, a tabloid when usually found in The Australian broadsheet http://blogs.theaustralian.news.com.au/gregsheridan/ also owned by USA citizen Rupert Murdoch's News Limited with this

"Cheney - a good man to have in your corner"

hard to find online, and to quote:

"I conducted an interview with Cheney on Friday, the only one-on-one [its all innocent, no hair bear Mardi Gras sexual frolics, Cheney's gay daughter not withstanding] media interview Cheney did while he was in Australia." ....

"he also had a tough message on Iran and that was that the US would certainly not rule out a military strike against Iran to prevent it from becoming a nuclear state." ...."

[Which may well explain this report of Iran, echoing China (a huge Iranian oil client) shooting a weather satellite out of the sky a few weeks ago, to underline their possible ability to shoot down USA military satellites: Iran Launches Rocket Into Sub-Orbit in Test - New York Times - 25 Feb 2007]

Picture: enlarged image from Fairfax press of big Dick Cheney saying goodbye on Kingsford Smith Airport tarmac last Sunday evening 25th Feb 07, with some kind of expression, (entering a divorce court, a broken spirit, Nuremberg trial for war crimes?) which also ran in the rival broadsheet The Australian same day. The haunted eyes, the clenched jaw, forlorn soulfulness. Outstanding photo journalism. On a lighter note the image reminds of the West Wing episode where VP 'Bingo Bob' repeatedly tells the tedious joke of squinting through his left eye so the coat of arms looks like 'President' absent 'Vice'. In Cheney's case vicious is more like it physically similar to the former Nazi SS dentist character in Marathon Man .

Sheridan continues in his story:

"Much of the liberal press is unfair to Cheney. He is sometimes characterised as some kind of weird extremist."

[sure Greg, like colleague Matt Price at The Australian extracted here in SAM's piece Thursday, 15 February 2007, Yankees abroad plan to boo Cheney visit to Australia index.blog?topic_id=1084060 reporting Cheney's fraudulent claims for going to war in Iraq, as an oil industry/Halliburton corporate loyalist, not least his ex Chief of Staff Scooter Libby in court for breach of national security law for political gain at the orders of his boss Cheney] ....

"Cheney has also made it clear in the past that he believes Saddam  had a long-standing relationship with al-Qaeda"

 [the so called international terrorist network, or isolated cells of ultra violent jihadists, depending on who you listen to, that Saddam almost certainly had no dealings with at all hence Sheridan's use of the words "in the past"].

Sheridan is indeed the dancing bear for powerful organ grinders no doubt. Here is a revealing discussion of the journalist in the Pentagon offices in April 2004 and doing their PR no doubt because:

" .... Sheridan’s brand of seculo-Christian-based morality also has much in common with that of the two neo-con leaders he so fervently admires and supports – John Howard and George W. Bush."

in Getting the Story Straight: Greg Sheridan in the Shifting Moral Sands of Iraq by Martin Hirst & Robert Schütze at http://eprint.uq.edu.au/archive/00001178/01/mh_rs_over_04.pdf

The authors conclude:

"Finally, Orwell would almost certainly have regarded Sheridan as a ‘Blimp’, a fulminating member of the militaristic and imperialist middle class intelligentsia wedded to glorified notions of Empire, loyalty and morality. This wouldn’t be such a bad thing if the Australian press and the Murdoch papers in particular, were open to dissenting voices, but unfortunately they’re not. Sheridan is one of a whole phalanx of conservative and neo-con columnists at the Australian and there are others just like him at all the other quality papers. Don’t even get us started on the Daily Terror!"

Daily Terror meaning Sydney Daily Telegraph, the weekday version of ... the Sydney Sunday Telegraph with the Greg Sheridan quotes above.


Posted by editor at 7:18 AM EADT
Updated: Wednesday, 28 February 2007 2:18 PM EADT
Tuesday, 27 February 2007
Maxine McKew timing for Bennelong follows Cheney at Australia-America Leadership Dialogue
Mood:  d'oh
Topic: election Oz 2007

SAM's editor wrote of Maxine McKew, distinguished ex ABC journalist in her own right (partner of ex National secretary of the Australian Labor Party referred to here back in 2002 PM - Bob Hogg endorses ALP power change ), several months ago. It was on www.sydney.indymedia.au (SIM) website which has been a bit patchy lately.

Here is a big media report at the time of her leaving the ABC Maxine McKew to leave the ABC. My piece at the time was about 'who is she kidding that she is really going to an ALP job?' though her line back then  is summarised in this quote in that story:

"She says she is taking time off to consider new challenges."

Here [now] is this editor's take via SIM 4 months ago: Does the Herald, Crikey and Maxine McKew think we are all so gullible? and worth quoting in full from 25th Oct 2006

"McKew will be nominating as a candidate for the ALP or in some other party political capacity before the next federal election.

 Neither reports in Crikey, or the Herald today note this possibility. Doh!

She is on record as having considered the move before in 2004 and ruling it out. She is an obvious Beazley barracker in the the Latham leadership period.

I mean does one really have to lay out the detail of the situation not to mention domestic arrangements.

McKew, minister for .... something in the next Beazley government, just like Mary Delahunty in the Victorian Parliament for the ALP. The trend in the polling has tipped her hand. Stay tuned for the next choreography.

Her picture in the precincts of her own home in the Herald today was over egging the pudding if you ask me but who can pay for exposure like that?"

Famously now McKew is on all the front pages of the press yesterday 26th Feb 07, having nominated herself, with the ALP leader's blessing, to tackle PM John Howard in his own seat of Bennelong:

Look who's taking on the PM in Bennelong

McKew catches PM off balance

We at SAM know that seat of Bennelong a bit having helped with driving and distribution work for the Not Happy John (NHJ) against PM Howard campaign in 2004 who used an amusing cartoon on the PM in their materials (below).

We met John Valder of NHJ a few times in 2004 as former president of the Liberal Party of Australia, yet sworn enemy of John Howard.

If memory serves McKew let it be known her intentions re Bennelong late on Sunday at a function opposite Kirribili House, though certainly it was via big chorerographed amplification in the Big Media yesterday Monday 26th Feb 2007 . 

But something else happened just last Friday as well which could be curiously related timing: Dick Cheney was reported doing this:

Cheney in Australia

February 13, 2007 12:15am

Article from: The Advertiser

U.S. Vice-President Dick Cheney will deliver a major speech on U.S. foreign policy and the Australia-America alliance when he visits Sydney next week.

Mr Cheney is due to address the Australian American Leadership Dialogue at the Shangri-La Hotel in Sydney on Friday of next week.

His trip comes after a brief visit to Japan, at which he plans to snub Defence Minister Fumio Kyuma, who called the Iraq war a "mistake". At http://www.news.com.au/adelaidenow/story/0,22606,21216089-5006301,00.html

[bold added]

And Maxine McKew is a known supporter of the http://www.aald.org/ and most likely did attend that forum. For her support of the AALD note this:

 

"A 30 year background in television reporting has seen Maxine cover a wide spectrum including state and national politics, business reporting and a period as foreign correspondent that took her to posts in both Washington DC and to New York. As a result Maxine maintains a strong interest in American political and economic issues and is a regular participant in the privately funded annual Australian and US Leadership Dialogue."

 

at http://www.aimconvention.com.au/Speakers/ConventionModerator

 

[bold added]

 

My own impression of Maxine McKew - just another nepotistic conservative opportunistic ALP crony who only moved to announce for Bennelong after the 2004 election with 

 

- The Greens 16% unrusting many voters off the Coalition,

- as well as the Not Happy John unrusting work (that this writer worked with),

- the electorate redistribution in ALP's favour,

- the Rudd strong polls,

- the revealing www. crikey.com.au (Morgan) polling reported from their subscriber material a week old below,

- the Oz-Chinese voting population that Rudd can talk to in Mandarin

- Cheney's blessing of the loyal ALP Opposition to the US Alliance, war mongering in Iraq and Iran notwithstanding, or our troops withdrawal.

 

McKew surely is just another Establishment revolving door jobbie between Big Media and Big Politics, a wage slave of Packer owned The Bulletin, former Channel 10 commercial tv, and conservative ABC ranks supportive of the current Howard controlled Board 'reforms' of the 'Marxist national broadcaster'.

 

SAM's editor also feels pretty sure Rudd got McKew to go the high publicity route in all the press a month back now (contrary to her own advice the 'Josh Lyman type' advisers stay invisible) for this reason:  To prove to the ALP family, and to hurt inconveniently noisy Beazley, that McKew was now Rudd's political property, formerly Beazley's. This was at the time the old Bomber ex leader was getting a bit too interested in publicity again as the ex leader in the SMH features etc, inevitably drawing comparisons of his experience compared to new leader Rudd.

 

Rudd effectively signalled to the ALP family he was the future with talent like Maxine working for him now (both pictured above at Canberra's federal Parliament House yesterday lifted from Sydney Morning Herald, photo by their Andrew Taylor). His political property. It's all pretty calculated from my viewpoint.

 

Cheney is also known to have had a quite undemocratic confidential meeting with Rudd, so much for values of transparency and governing for the people rather than the hierarchical elites.

 

McKew is on the ABC radio with Trioli 702 this morning as we write saying she had decided some 3 weeks ago and was sitting on the news but in reality it was only yesterday's coverage that crossed the Rubicon, after the Cheney visit.

 

Cheney was reported over the weekend stating the US-Australia alliance is "rock solid" which was widely reported as a let off to the ALP for wanting to withdraw Australian troops from Iraq:

 

 Interview: Kevin Rudd
Political editor Laurie Oakes speaks to Opposition Leader Kevin Rudd about Labor’s election chances, Australia’s alliance with the US in Iraq, the battle of ideas for Australia’s future and Labor’s national clean coal initiative...Watch the video more

 

Presumably Cheney said as much at the AALD forum as well:

 

Was McKew at the AALD last Friday? Did she go big on her candidacy only after Cheney's diplomacy

 

The other significant involvement of SAM's editor is that I sent a package of the crikey poll on Bennelong to Valder's mob of NHJ about a week ago to encourage them to play a role in 2007 in Bennelong: Tthey used this cartoon by Moir lifted from the Sydney Morning Herald:

 

 I notice Valder who I met a few times in 2004 back in the news again today barracking for McKew.

 

My email was as follows:

 

Sent: Wednesday, February 21, 2007 5:42 PM

Subject: not happy john to live again in 2007? crikey morgan poll is suggestive - last Monday 19th Feb

1. PM would lose his own seat: Crikey Morgan Poll

Christian Kerr writes:

Prime Minister John Howard would lose his own seat of Bennelong if a federal election was held today, a Crikey-Morgan Poll has found.

And it gets worse for the PM: a majority of voters in his electorate say Kevin Rudd would be a better prime minister – and 38% of the PM’s own constituents believe he should retire before the federal election.

The findings come from a telephone poll of 394 Bennelong electors conducted by Roy Morgan Research last Wednesday and Thursday nights.

Labor support in Bennelong is running at 55% on a two party preferred basis, compared with 45% for the Liberal Party,

Forty per cent of Bennelong electors would give their first preferences to the Prime Minister (down 9.9% since the last election). Forty one per cent would cast a primary vote for Labor (up 12.6% since 2004), 11% for the Greens and 5% for others. Only a low 3% of voters were undecided.

A higher proportion of Bennelong voters say Labor leader Kevin Rudd would be a better Prime Minister than Mr Howard – 49% to 47%.

More Bennelong electors disapprove of the way Mr Howard is handling his job as Prime Minister than approve – 47% to 44%. In contrast, 75% approve of the job Mr Rudd is doing as Opposition Leader, compared to just 11% who disapprove and 14% who can’t say.

Full results and tables are available
here.

 

Back to Top


2. Battlezone Bennelong

Christian Kerr writes:

Bennelong will be a frontline seat in this year’s federal election. A redistribution of the electoral boundaries in NSW last year cut John Howard’s margin down to just four per cent on the Mackerras pendulum – but some authorities say the figure could be even lower.

"My seat has been made a bit more marginal by the distribution," the Prime Minister has said this morning. But boundary changes aren’t the only thing making Bennelong bodgie for the Libs. Demography also appears to be working against the PM.

Bennelong has seen a rapid influx of new, mostly Asian, migrants in the past decade. Some observers say these new electors are more likely to vote Labor, making that four per cent buffer generous.

The census data from last year isn’t out yet, which makes it difficult to assemble a snapshot of the state of the PM’s seat. However, NSW Labor backroom boy Shane Easson has speculated that a swing to Labor in the state of three per cent "would be enough for Labor to win Bennelong in 2007" in a detailed analysis of the seat on Mumble Politics . A uniform swing of 3.3 per cent across the nation would see a change of government.

Labor polled poorly in NSW at the last election. Its 2004 two party preferred result of 48.07 per cent was its second worst performance since the Whitlam wallopings of 1975 and 77. Labor sources say that a recovery in the party’s vote to more usual levels would pump up the pressure on the PM in his own seat.

Of course, the election is still a long time away. It could be held as late as December 15.

The Government appeared to be in trouble at this time in both 2001 and 2004, yet went on to resounding election years.

Now, though, things may be different. We have new style Labor leader in Kevin Rudd – on a much firmer footing in the polls than Mark Latham last time round.

"There’s a long time between now and the election," pollster Gary Morgan warns. "However, the electorate’s concern over issues such as IR, Hicks and Iraq running against Mr Howard, combined with Kevin Rudd’s elevation to the Labor leadership, has had a significant impact on the standing of Mr Howard and the Coalition."

The PM won’t be pleased with the Crikey Morgan Poll’s findings on these issues, which we’ll publish through the week.

And after today’s poll results, he’ll want to know who his Labor opponent will be.

The ALP has not yet preselected a candidate for Bennelong – although there have been intriguing hints that someone strong may be preparing for a run.

Intriguing hints – and persistent speculation that the Labor could be another cricket tragic. A bloke name Steve Waugh.


Posted by editor at 9:47 AM EADT
Updated: Wednesday, 28 February 2007 10:18 AM EADT
Sunday, 25 February 2007
ALP's minister Debus plays green voters for suckers with captured journo?
Mood:  quizzical
Topic: election nsw 2007

How stupid does astute Bob Debus, the retiring NSW Environment Minister take the NSW voters for? Pretty stupid would be the editor's guess.

 

Here is his latest cheap PR stunt for the environment - worthy on its own terms but hopelessly speculative, uncorroborated (notice Qld Govt on abc tv news last night questioning it's national applicability), deeply inadequate at $7M to the task and gormlessly regurgitated by James Woodford at the Sydney Morning Herald as per most of his stories, and therefore untested, when this government's record is quite contrary to the objective of free migration of species in the age of climate change:

 

Route for wildlife to escape warming A 2800-kilometre wildlife corridor will be established along almost the entire east coast of Australia. 

 

 

Indeed the idea is lifted off The Wilderness Society’s national electioneering agendas anyway, which gives the clue to Debus’s nerves in a close election, including this extract of their map at The Wilderness Society - Australia  website as follows:

 

including this writer (TWS NSW Campaign Coordinator 1993-1994) having long campaigned against the scourge of logging and woodchipping of our eucaplypt natural forests here in the very exact zone of the so called conservation migration route along Eastern Australia’s fringe: The hypocrisy is breathtaking really. Debus presents as a priestly sort of policy gentleman but the truth is far more compromised.

 

The NSW Government including Debus directly cooperates with the foreign (Japanese) multinational SouthEast FibreExports Pty Ltd to destroy our natural heritage here, specifically in the new so called conservation migration zone:

 

In the words of TWS here NSW Forests

 

Southern Forests - Iemma's test!

At the last state election, the Carr-Iemma government put the last great forest icons on the south coast under temporary protection. The intention was clear - the community wanted these places protected and the government recognised this. But they went back on their intention. A fraction of the icons were protected. And then the logging started again. After a community outcry the logging stopped but protection remains only temporary. Premier Iemma must act NOW, before March 2007. The quolls, koalas and gliders need you to act on their behalf to get Iemma to deliver!”

We also received this recently:

From: Harriet Swift

To: ChipStop Network

Sent: Wednesday, February 14, 2007 3:28 PM

Subject: [chipstop] Badja report

 

We went to Badja last weekend because we had heard reports of horrible logging there. It is true.
Anyone familiar with the area as it was in the time of the blockade will be shocked.
The right hand side of Badja Forest Road has been logged, all the way from the cattle grid where we held our last dragon action, almost to the corner where State Forests and police had their camp. Another section begins just as you turn right at that corner. A third section on the road to the Cascades, on the right hand side behind the spot where there was phone reception.
Fortunately, no more logging has been done around the old fort site or at Balook.
Some of the logged areas along the cascades road have been burned, even though there is E. fraxinoides (fire sensitive) in the vicinity.
We didn't see the quoll, but saw some scats. The platypus are still there, even though the river level was lower than usual.
Very depressing, but makes me think a Wielangta type challenge based on the quoll habitat in the escarpment forests is a good idea.
HS

 

Same ole, same ole, as per this campaign poster of photographs by this writer back in


Indeed the loggers are so happy with the governments they have paid for with extensive political donations over the years that WOODCHIPPERS BREAK TRUCK RECORD going into the Eden industrial facility, and even bragged late in 2006 in these terms resplendent with spin and deception:

 

[media release, December 2006, on National Association of Forest Industries website]

 

South Coast NSW timber communities celebrate million tonne milestone

 

NAFI member South East Fibre Exports (SEFE) achieves a record export figure of one million tonnes of woodchips from sustainably managed forests in 2006

 

Catherine Murphy, CEO of NAFI, congratulates NAFI member South East Fibre Exports (SEFE) for achieving a record export figure of one million tonnes of woodchips from sustainably managed forests in 2006.

 

Catherine attended celebrations to mark this outstanding achievement with over 600 south coast timber representatives in Eden today. SEFE’s woodchips exports are primarily bound for Japan where they are turned into high quality paper for Australian and international consumers.

 

“This milestone is a great achievement for the south coast NSW based export facility which employs over 300 people,” said Mrs Murphy.

 

“SEFE sources its timber from sustainably managed forests from NSW and Victoria which are as sustainably harvested to world class standards from Forests NSW and VicForests operations,” she said.

 

“The SEFE mill provides support for a number of local sawmills which are dealing with the recent downturn in the NSW housing market. These local sawmills are also major employers in the south coast area.

 

“Wood waste from SEFE’s chip mill also provides renewable energy for other local businesses. For example, Bega cheese uses wood residues from SEFE’s mill operations to power its cheese manufacturing facilities in Bega. This eliminates the need to rely on power from electricity generated by coal-fired power plants, which are major contributors to Australia’s greenhouse gas emissions.

 

“This milestone is also significant considering the to disruption forestry and mill operations caused by environmental groups. These groups often employ illegal tactics to disrupt these operations.

 

“Reaching this outstanding export target of one million tonnes shows how ineffective these outrageous tactics have been.

 

“We congratulate SEFE and the south coast timber community on their outstanding success,” Mrs Murphy said.

 

………………………………

Picture: Truck exits "closed" public forest at Wandella NSW South Coast in 2005, past conservationist protest camp (on council road reserve land tenure) to the Eden chipmill.

 

 

This from the same Catherine Murphy who pre emptively accused green groups of supporting “eco terrorism” yet conservationists are the only ones bleeding in the industry’s cynical game of money politics, as shown here:

 

6th Dec 2006 - New paper: Logger terrorism under the Howard federal government

 

It all makes perfect sense, killing forest animals and plants for a living every working day of the week, terrorising greenies short of killing them too, but who doubts they would feed 'em into the chipper if they could at Eden:

 

 

This woodchipping obscenity is well understood by organised regional conservationists including Party political groups who might once have supported the ALP with preferences:

 

Braidwood Greens » Blog Archive » Greens announce preferences forEden Monaro

 

 

And clearly the NSW Government are embarrassed by their corrupt forest policy to cover up the details as here:

 

[Media release]

Greens in court to expose SE forests woodchip cover-up

22/02/2007

Greens campaigners are today appealing a decision by the NSW government to refuse to release the price at which native South East NSW forest timber is being sold to a highly profitiable Japanese company.
 

South East Fibre Exports chipmill, Eden NSW - The Eden chipmill is effectively a monopoly buyer and Forests NSW is a monopoly seller of pulp logs in NSW, so there is no commercial reason for this secrecy

Greens MP
Lee Rhiannon said, “The government is selling off our native forests for a pittance to a Japanese owned chipmill and is intent on hiding this fact.”

“Greens forest campaigners are today appealing the decision by Forests NSW to refuse to release this information under NSW freedom of information laws.

“Polls show 80 per cent of the public oppose wood chipping our native forests.

“The NSW government is failing the public by covering up how cheaply our native forests are being sold off. Forests NSW claims this information is ‘commercial in confidence’ to the company concerned.

“The Eden chipmill is effectively a monopoly buyer and Forests NSW is a monopoly seller of pulp logs in NSW, so there is no commercial reason for this secrecy.

 “The Ombudsman has shown how bureaucracies are increasingly using NSW’s weak FOI laws to shield themselves from their obligation to release information that is clearly in the public interest.

“This is clearly the case with Forests NSW.

“Last year the Iemma government voted against a Greens private members bill for an overhaul of NSW’s eighteen year old freedom of information laws.

“The Iemma government must believe it is in its best interests to hide its inadequacies.

“Our archaic FOI laws are capable of sheltering the government from criticism. This is one example of the shonky use of FOI exemptions.

“It is a continuing scandal that the NSW government is felling our native forests to have them shipped off-shore as woodchips, while trying to paint itself as an environmentally friendly party,” Ms Rhiannon said.

The hearing is at 10am this morning before the Administrative Decisions Tribunal, Level 15, St James Centre, 111 Elizabeth Street. The Environmental Defenders Office is representing Mr Gerry Watt.

Contact:  Greens MP Lee Rhiannon 9230 3551, 0427 861 568, Mr Gerry Watt 0439 737 530

…………………..

 

Indeed NSW forest destruction is symptomatic of corrupt politics in Australia with roughly 8 million tonnes of forest chipped nationally per year. In the last ten years 70 million tonnes of forest has been chipped under the current NSW and Federal governments elected in 1995 and 1996 respectively (as well as Victorian, and Tasmanian governments but less so the WA government today), all supporting destruction of our forests in an age of climate change. In short environmental criminals as per this map of Tasmania from TWS adapted from Google Earth apparently:

 


And notice this report of the determined support for the vandalism:

 

[Media release] 24 February 2007

Regional Forest Agreement Change is Alice in Wonderland Nonsense - Brown

 

“Humpty Dumpty: When I use a word, it means just what I choose it to mean - neither more nor less.

Alice: The question is, whether you can make words mean so many different things. Humpty Dumpty: The question is: which is to be master - that's all.”

 

 

"The agreement by Prime Minister Howard and Tasmanian Premier Lennon to drop the pivotal clause which protects rare and endangered species is Alice in Wonderland-style nonsense, Greens Leader Bob Brown said today.

 

"Justice Marshall ruled that the reserve system and management prescriptions used in the Wielangta forest do not protect the Tasmanian Wedge-tailed Eagle, Swift Parrot and Wielangta Stag Beetle.

 

"Mr Howard and Mr Lennon say that, without change to logging impacts, they can stare down this ruling by simply writing their contrary opinion into the Regional Forest Agreement.  This will not prevail," said Senator Brown.

 

Senator Brown said that regardless of the RFA change, logging in the 10,000ha Wielangta forest remains illegal.  Neither will this hollow manoeuvre by Howard and Lennon change Australian or international laws which require the habitat of rare and endangered species to be protected.

 

"My lawyers will study the RFA changes in the coming weeks.  I have no intention of backing away from challenging the Tasmanian woodchip industry's threat to endangered species," Senator Brown said.

 

Further information: Emma Belfield 0400 181 748

……………..

 

We met Minister Bob Debus (side kick of Bob No.2, ex Premier Bob Carr) a few times in our activist career back to 1992, including at a presser for the oil spill at Shell's Gore Cove oil terminal in Sydney Harbour way back in 1998, our parliamentary submission here:

 

3/8/99...Sydney Harbour oil spill by Shell ship transport contractor, indicative of rogue multinational, Submission to NSW Parliamentary Inquiry

 

(and more generally on that multinational here Shell Hell ). To be fair that mini Exxon Valdez vandalism to our beautiful harbour that Vice President Dick Cheney has just been touring for the tv cameras yesterday 24th February, as reported here:

 

 

Cheney says Hicks will be among first detainees tried

United States Vice-President Dick Cheney says David Hicks is likely to be among the first Guantanamo Bay detainees brought to trial.

 

….was all Shell’s incompetent fault some 8 years ago. Not the NSW government.

 

Purely by coincidence yesterday we butted up to the borders of new micro state Chenistan there in The Rocks next to the CBD where his hotel, the exclusive and bizarrely named Shangrila, is located to deliver the latest Sydney City News suburban freebie newspapers. 3 locations King George V Recreation Centre and two pubs full of tourists are on my list on the same street.

 

Perhaps Big Dick was going to his lunch date with the PM - as we walked to the first of our deliveries chatting with the street cops enforcing “the lockdown” a big black van with Men In Black suits went by, then a stretch limo emerged: Noticing their windows down I hurled some democratic advice “Arrest the war criminal, lock him up and throw away the key” The jolly front passenger cruising into the empty street hurriedly wound up the window, but I do have a loud voice so I know it went in. Then on leaving I suggested to the local officer ‘what we need is a Sydney bus driver to make a citizen's arrest and lock the bastard up’ referring to this local celebrity: Arresting bus driver up for award | NEWS.com.au

 

If only. Cheney's ideology is “scary” to borrow a term off the Sunday political talkies this morning, both in Iraq and in the Arctic Wildlife Reserve. Blood for oil. Just as the hypocrisy and anti environmentalism of the Australian Labor Party is scary for what it does to the souls of good people. Or is that just power politics everywhere and in every Party?


Posted by editor at 11:00 AM EADT
Updated: Monday, 26 February 2007 8:50 PM EADT
Sunday tv policitical talkies - desperate Howard polling plummets, puts on son/bimbo PR stunt?
Mood:  caffeinated
Topic: election Oz 2007

Picture: Top left, controlled PR photo ran in PM Howard's favourite newspaper Sydney Daily Telegraph last Thursday prominent right hand side, with a suggestive quote from Pamela Anderson, another busty topless model. It's hard to see how 'values voters' (to borrow a phrase from West Wing tv series last night) will react to her, but it does look a calculated PR diversion from a sinking Howard. Treasurer aspirant Peter Costello is pushing various right wing agendas to firm up his succession plans. The Bikini bimbo pic of same woman was p1 no less of the Daily Telegraph yesterday probably in a cynical attempt to distract from the cynical fraud Vice President Dick Cheney and his visit. Both Howard sons are known to be political operatives in support of their father's political brand.

Main story:

Author’s note: This is not a well packaged story. It’s a contemporaneous traverse of the Sunday television free to air political talkies indicating the agenda of Establishment interests: Better to know ones rivals and allies  in Big Politics and Big Media. ]

 

Indeed it’s the tv version monitoring task similar to what Nelson Mandela refers to here in his book Long Walk to Freedom (1994, Abacus) written in Robben Island prison (where he was meant to die like other African resister chiefs of history in the 19C), at page 208

 

“..newspapers are only a shadow of reality; their information is important to a freedom fighter not because it reveals the truth, but because it discloses  the biases and perceptions of both those who produce the paper and those who read it.”

 

Just substitute ‘Sunday tv political talkie shows’ for "newspapers" in the quote above.

 

For actual transcripts go to web sites quoted below except with Riley Diary on 7. And note transcripts don’t really give you the image content value.

 

10 Meet the Press 8-8.30 am

 

Quality 2nd string network, good show, lower audience than 9 or 7, both low for Sundays anyway. Traverse of press headlines first including VP Cheney says troops pull wouldn’t risk the USA-Australia alliance.

 

Deputy ALP leader: Julia Gillard, welcomes Cheney admission Oz troop withdrawal no affect on [“rock solid” per abc tv news last night] alliance.

 

 Spills the beans supports uranium mining expansion at Roxby Downs in South Australia. What a sellout. Says its all for jobs. [the other sleeper is what did Rudd and Cheney talk about that he is so cagey about.)

 

Howard footage of the rapid fire speechmaking on IR. Looks panicky.

 

NSW Teachers federation advert in first break aimed at the federal govt IR laws at play in NSW and federal election.

 

Panel is Jennifer Hewitt? of Fairfax? Mal Farr News Ltd

 

Standard competent discussion of IR and AWAs.

 

Q. re leader “full of it” as in overconfident. Loyal answer.

 

Animation: Rudd polls skyrocketing with Rudd as superman. Clark Kent metaphor.

 

2nd ad break Cool Aid with Al Gore next Sunday on 10.

 

2nd guest Hugh White Lowy Institute expert:

- Doubts Cheney caliphate extreme fear mongering.  USA not good at democracy building, only wars.

 

- Invasion of Iran is very unlikely he thinks. Cheney hawkish vis a vis rest of Washington and less influential.

 

- Very gloomy about Iraq, 20K surge no long term difference. USA lacks “ability” to create peace and stability”. Terrible dilemma. Howard government increasingly isolated.

 

- Oz 500 troops not a significant operational force. Could bring troops home.

 

Transcript in due course www.ten.com.au/meetthepress

 

 

7 Weekend Sunrise, 8.35-40 am

 

Humourous, quite edgy as usual. Fraud news roundup by referring to “violent protests” against Cheney but at least mentioning traffic mayhem he caused [by not going to Canberra instead of Sydney].

 

Riley Diary:

 

Go West music theme of Pet Shop Boys: polling discussed. UK draw down, spin on that from Howard govt ministers. ‘Full of himself’comment re perception of overconfidence of Rudd streets ahead in the polls [Sydney Daily Telegraph re ‘Ruddslide’ p1 24/2/07 in Qld]

 

 

Web page here but no transcript usually: http://www.seven.com.au/sunrise/weekend

 

[2 and 9 shows to follow later this morning]

Pictures: Images from left wing Melbourne Indy Media website. This writer couldn't attend the protests against Vice President Cheney's visit last Thursday 23rd Feb, but generally agrees with the exercise of free speech and the message. I'm not sure if The Green Party here would have agreed to the juxtaposition with the bloodied, upturned USA flag, but that's what happens in a passionate protest rally. I'm told one placard read: "USA stop thinking with your Dick". Also there is alot of resonance to the idea (in the editor's legal opinion as a solicitor, based on general media) that a very large police contingent manufactured clashes to smear the anti war rally. For instance top cop Terry Collins was implying it was "a riot" on the abc radio which is pretty exagerated, arguing there were '"G20" troublemakers in the crowd [a reference to clashes in Melbourne weeks ago] as they rode their horses up to and against the crowd. The truth was captured by a video on the Sydney Morning Herald website http://media.fairfax.com.au/?rid=25946 . Authorities did have an arguable case regarding protest disruption of traffic as inconvenience to the public but Cheney was doing alot of that too with his entourage. Besides democracy is inconvenient ... and absolutely essential. Police let the the march proceed anyway which was good. Plenty of police real politik these last few days.

 [Sunday tv talkies continued]

2 Insiders (abc) 9-10 am,  http://www.abc.net.au/insiders/ 

 

Guest is Malcolm Turnbull on water etc.

 

Pretty good show as usual this week, this writer distracted with other indy media work while listening – see transcript at link above.

  

9 Sunday 9-10.30am (to follow) http://sunday.ninemsn.com.au/sunday/

 

Feature on Oz wife and noticeably Islamic convert, of Willy Brigitte errorist suspect in France, deported from Australia. Likey sympathetic will check tape later.

 

Rudd on Oaks interview. Missed first half of it perhaps. Top line interview well worth checking the transcript. Rudd plays confidentiality with Cheney which is pretty clear breach of transparent democracy. Says Cheney knew his policy position to draw down/reduce troops. Etc

 

Long interview. Gutsy clear vibe by Rudd. Pushes clean coal agenda. Not sure if he’s been challenged on uranium, probably next question. Timeline of 2020 [which further exposes false action on coal emissions until then].

 

Web poll for this week, should Australia follow Britian and withdraw troops from Iraq.

 

78% said for last week David Hicks has spent enough time in prison.


Posted by editor at 8:41 AM EADT
Updated: Wednesday, 28 February 2007 7:11 AM EADT
Thursday, 22 February 2007
Morris's ministers and the NSW Gun Club 5% Hansonite redneck vote
Mood:  don't ask
Topic: election nsw 2007

 

Picture: A sporting shooter menaces an animal rights activist during the Duck Shooting season in Victoria a few years ago.

How revealing of this story today in the Sydney Daily Telegraph:

Labor trio loved by Libs By Joe Hildebrand: MICHAEL Costa spent his third day in hiding yesterday as the Liberals identified the Treasurer as one of the state's most despised politicians.

Not so much for the sledge of the three allegedly unpopular ministers Tripodi, Costa and Sartor.

No what was far more interesting was this:

"Mr Costa cancelled a scheduled appearance at the NSW Gun Club for some goodwill clay pigeon shooting yesterday after he realised there might be some media present.

Crestfallen organisers were forced to offer the expectant crowd some "last-minute apologies" from the timid tax collector when he failed to turn up.

Ironically, Mr Costa's cut-and-run job yesterday was highlighted even more by the appearance of Mr Sartor and Mr Tripodi days after their invisibility had been repeatedly noted by The Daily Telegraph and other media. ....

Back at the gun club, the only two Government MPs brave enough to show up were Land Minister Tony Kelly and old-school factional heavyweight Eddie Obeid.

But even these two tough guys got the jitters when they realised The Daily Telegraph would be attending the event.

Despite being listed to take part in a sort of celebrity shooting match, they mysteriously disappeared before the games could begin.

"Anthony Kelly? Anthony Kelly?" called out one innocent organiser.

Instead, the only politician who stayed on target was Nationals MP Adrian Piccoli.

He made his own day by outshooting the Shooters Party, something he was modest enough to mention only five or six times after the event.

Olympic gold medal-winning shooter Russell Mark suggested that perhaps it was best politicians stayed away from the shooting field anyway.

"Unlike their political lives, in shooting they've got to keep both eyes open and both ears open," Mark said afterwards.

"Exactly the opposite of what they do in Parliament."

[bold added]

This is just more evidence of the NSW Government's sly dishonest courting of the mad sporting shooter redneck, right to bear arms, Hansonite leaning, 5% ultra Right vote. People like this:

 Ned Wood's GUN LAWS IN AUSTRALIA

and here

http://members.iimetro.com.au/~hubbca/gunlaws.htm

a web site with spookily detailed profile of gun control advocate Dr Rebecca Peters http://members.iimetro.com.au/~hubbca/peters.htm and, and Green Party candidate and former intelligence officer Andrew Wilkie, a website obsessing about the impending fascist dictatorship justifying widespread gun ownership as per the USA. 

And there is real money behind the shooter politics too:

www.smh.com.au - Shooters' group factions clash on political funds 

"A special general meeting of the Sporting Shooters' Association of Australia has been called after the former Shooters' Party president David Leyonhjelm protested against a donation of more than $60,000 towards the Shooters' Party campaign by the association's Sydney branch.

A 10-person committee of that branch, which has more than 20,000 members, voted to give $60,000 to the Shooters' Party and hold another $40,000 in reserve for the campaign. The state division of the association is donating a further $250,000 to the party.

The president of the Sporting Shooters' Association and the No. 1 candidate on the upper house ticket for the Shooters' Party, Roy Smith, said it was just a couple of disgruntled members like Mr Leyonhjelm who were complaining."

The ALP real politik works like this: Do covert cosying up to the Shooters to let them know you like them even if they are Right of Genghis Khan, but just be discreet enough to not offend the other 90% of the electorate who want a safe society, indeed avoid photos of your gun toting ways in the Big Media if at all possible.

In a close election it could make all the difference. And this is a very close if not losing election:

Swinging voters worry Labor

The New South Wales ALP general secretary says he is concerned the party could be swept from power because of the large number of swinging voters across the state, including many in the Hunter.

Mark Arbib has revealed the party is campaigning in about 30 seats it believes could be lost to the Coalition or independents.

Mr Arbib told a function in Sydney that the party is expecting large swings against it due to the volatile nature of the electorate.

"At the moment the Coalition is claiming they will win 11 seats. On top of that there's also claims we're going to lose Newcastle, Maitland and Lake Macquarie. That's 14 seats," he said.

"It's a big change and obviously very, very hard for us to resist and this is what the Coalition is saying at the moment and if they weren't confident why would they be saying it?"

At http://www.abc.net.au/news/newsitems/200702/s1853781.htm

[And acknowledging that The Australian broke this story first on 21st Feb 2007 by Imre Salusinszky here showing the deliberately open warning by Arbib to the Right of the Party and public generally who read that paper, here

Labor warned of hostile swing

http://www.theaustralian.news.com.au/story/0,20867,21261027-2702,00.html ]

Get it? Ministers Costa, and Kelly both pulled out of attending the gun happy NSW Gun Club in reaction to media interest or similar concerns.

For some reason when I lobbied both Anne Davies at the Sydney Morning Herald and Joe Hilderbrand at the Daily Telegraph at the time of writing both seemed too busy or in the latter case particularly disinterested in this line of analysis, so I have decided even more so to spell out the background here for alternative media readers.

(The other sleeper in this story is how can Antony Green of impartial ABC be briefing the very ALP aligned Fabian Society as per the The Australian article? It's in the last two lines.)

This issue of endangerment of all public forest recreationalists, not just card carrying greenies, reaches across the broad spectrum, especially as shooting feral animals by a bunch of amateurs has no genuine scientific basis and most serious observers and rival stakeholders see it as purely pandering to cowboys:

Pambula: Keep Forests Safe

The most telling other piece of evidence was reported in Big Media back in 2006 here:

Safety fears as shooters comb forests
GAME hunters are now able to shoot in 142 state forests across NSW and they've already bagged 650 feral animals since legalised hunting began in March.
Sun Herald 30/07/2006

and here

Killers for conservation

This radical move to the right by the Iemma NSW government was roundly rejected by green and other civil society groups here:

Lee Rhiannon MLC - Hunting in State forests

and here

10th July 2006 More State Forests Turned into Hunting Grounds 

Another 46 State forests covering 422,100 hectares in the Central-West and Southern NSW have just been designated as hunting areas, putting in danger neighbouring landholders, campers and walkers visiting public lands while creating new problems for the control of feral animals.

“NPA
[National Parks Association] is alarmed about the NSW Government policy of turning over vast areas of public forests and woodlands to hunters,” said Andrew Cox, NPA Executive Officer.

“This brings to 155 the number of State forests made available to hunters for the next five years since the declaration of the first hunting areas by Minister for Primary Industries, Ian Macdonald, earlier this year. A total of 1.39 million hectares, or half of all State forests in NSW, are now declared as hunting areas, bringing into conflict forest users and hunters with their guns and pig dogs.”

“The Game and Feral Animal Control Act was passed in 2002 despite fierce opposition from environmental and animal welfare groups. Hunting on public lands is overseen by a Board that is required to have a majority of hunters,” said Mr Cox.

and similarly here: Nature Conservation Council of NSW - Hunting in State Forests is "bad news".

and here:

Feedback on shooting of dog in state forest

The shooting death of a domestic dog camping with its owner in a State Forest on the North Coast, has sparked more debate about the use of hunters to control feral animals.

Licenced shooters have been targetting feral animals in 152 forests as part of a State Government initiative known as 'conservation hunting'. We had a large number of callers on the issue with varying points of view.
At http://www.abc.net.au/rural/nsw/content/2006/s1723227.htm]

Which pet shooting incident ended up with these questions in Parliament:

0470 - SHOOTING ON PUBLIC LANDS

And unlike in Queensland where Illegal shooters face stiff fines - EPA/QPWS , here in NSW under this desperate NSW ALP government on the nose with voters, we have lax laws for unlicensed shooters too: Magistrate Heilpern responded to a question from this writer at a recent Beyond Environmental Law conference I reported here on SAM as follows:

"Magistrate Heilpern outlined the harsh exclusion by new regulation of [anti logging] protesters from public forest with his slogan “the [jack] boots are on” but declined to make electoral comment on the free rein now for shooters in those public recreation areas except to note it’s $550 fine for saving forests under a PIN notice from a govt forestry officer, but only $200 fine for shooting while unlicensed. The implication is clear the NSW govt supports shooters more than forests."

Barry Unsworth the blow-in ALP Premier in 1988 (after Neville Wran stood down, like Bob Carr in 2005, after a lengthy stint), was seen to be opposing the shooters "rights" and sending the Right into the arms of the Liberal-National Parly Coalition under Nick Griener elected later that year:

"JEAN KENNEDY: And, as the election [of 1988] drew closer, he [Premier Barry Unsworth] had a new issue to deal with, one which was dividing town and country gun control. At meetings like this in Bathurst, there was outrage.

[File tape]: The New South Wales government, without doubt and it can't be questioned, is using the law abiding sporting shooters of this state as scapegoats for their inability to control law and order on the streets of Sydney."

http://www.abc.net.au/stateline/nsw/content/2006/s1808369.htm

And no one is doubting current ALP Premier Morris Iemma is not a dedicated student of political history in NSW (being an apprentice of fixer ex Senator Graham Richardson) even at the expense of the citizens' real safety.


Posted by editor at 2:20 PM EADT
Updated: Friday, 23 February 2007 6:45 AM EADT

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